The Crossroads of the Aether
My blog yesterday was about industrial production. Ordinarily whenever a company starts to mass produce items which are deliberately aimed at steampunks people immediately start to cry out "foul" and decry that it is either an attempt to cheapen our cherished scene, making it mainstream or to cash in our us exploiting our trusting natures.
I was surprised therefore when the two comments left were closer to my own personal thoughts on the matter and agreed that there is actually a place for "mass production" contributing to the genre. The Nerf Maverick is, as cited, a classic example. A large percentage of steampunks own one. Some love them, some hate them. Generally they are simply accepted.
Alchemy Gothic have produced some interesting pieces. Some people are venemous in their dislike of them. They shout out Alchemy are trying to cash in and don't understand the scene. They miss the fact that a number of the pieces were actually designed around 10 years ago before most of the protestors had ever heard the term steampunk and were produced for a director that loved the feel of victorian science fiction. They also ignore that the goods are produced in a close knit company that encompasses design, model making, mould making, casting, assembling and finishing all under one roof. The difficulty is that to someone who knows the company and knows their style the protests ring somewhat hollow and there is a smell of something which could be jealousy.
I have been talking to another company recently. They are producing some quality items. Furthermore they are asking for design input and trying to understand the scene so that they can actually cater to it rather than exploit it. It is in the best interests of both buyers and makers/sellers to get the products right. If they get it wrong they need help and constructive feedback rather than condemnation.
Next time you see a product which has been designed specifically for a steampunk audience I urge people not to be quick to condemn it and berate the makers. Stop and think, consider where they are trying and where they are failling. If you don't like a piece then fine, don't buy it but don't feel your opinion is the only one that counts and you should tell all steampunks across the world that it "is not steampunk and should be destroyed".
After all one man's finished piece is another man's raw materials...